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D2003-14

Dear Daisy Dog

Max, our 11-month-old German shepherd, is limping again. About four months ago, it was his right front leg, and now he’s limping on his left front.

The vet says it’s “growing pains.” Just what are growing pains? Can this condition be prevented? How is it treated?

Daisy Responds

The fancy term for growing pains is panosteitis (“pan-os-tee-ite-us”), also called “pan-o.” This is a bone (oste) inflammation (itis) affecting the long bones of the legs.

The disease usually strikes young, large-breed dogs, especially German shepherds. Males are more commonly affected than females.

Radiographs (x-rays) can help diagnose the disease and rule out other causes of lameness, such as fractures.

Most dogs recover without treatment, though the disease sometimes recurs, as it did in Max’s case. The good news for Max is that panosteitis is usually gone by two years of age.

The cause is unknown, so specific treatment and preventive measures are unknown. Most dogs are given anti-inflammatory pain relievers to ease the discomfort.

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